tv [untitled] August 2, 2012 3:00am-3:30am PDT
individual, the external factors, and we try to find the appropriate remedy. [applause] >> you started an organization that helps parents who have suffered the death of their child or children by violence. what made evaded you to do this? >> but what motivated you to do this? >> good morning, so glad to be here. i want to thank you for inviting me to this panel. giving honor to god for allowing me to be here today to do this work. if it was not for him, i could not be here. i do this work, at it is not just me, it is over 300 families
that we represent in san francisco alone. the reason why i do this. i do it because my son was murdered in the western addition july 17, 1996, a day before his oldest son, at the age of 5, his birthday was the next day. this is the reason why i do it. 300 family is, over 350 families in san francisco alone that i know personally, that are members of the healing circle, cases have not been solved. she lost three sons to gun violence in the month of august. that is the reason why i do. i do it because betty cooper
lost two sons in the bay view to violence. it still remains unsolved. in 1996, when my son was killed, 96 homicides in san francisco. everybody seemed to think that it was just another day in my community. no one knew the pain i was suffering. no one knew when i was going through. no one knew how this affected my family, my children, my community. no one seemed to care. i do it because what happened in columbine should have happened in my neighborhood, and it did not. there was no one there for me when this happened to me. [applause] there were no counselors, and nobody come into my house to ask me questions about what
happened. the already labeled my son in the papers as a gang member. they labeled him as a drug dealer. no be had came to me -- no media came to me to ask me about my child. the people in my community seamen visible -- seemed invisible, and that seems unfair. i do because i want to see justice. i want to look at the person who killed my son and asked him why. why did you kill my son? what was so -- what did he do that allow you to shoot him point blank with four bullets in the face? what would make you do such a thing? i want to meet the individual, to let him know i have already forgiven you. if i had not for giving you, i would not be here today. i have to forgive you, but i
want to know why. why do i want to know why? i want to get you killed, too. kurds people -- hurt people hurt people. apparently, you are hurting. you had to be hurting that night to shoot my son in the face. you knew him, you ate at my house, you spend time together. i want to know why you killed my son. i want to know why. i want to know why the community did not step up. everybody was present. i want to know why came to say who did it. i want answers. like all the 300 mothers that we represent in the healing circle, they ask the same question.
i want to know why along with the over 30,000 unsolved homicides since the 1990's. over 30,000. over 30,000 unsolved. that is over 30,000 families that i represent. i want to know why. we are the healing circle and we believe in healing people. we go inside of san quentin, we go inside of the county jail, the juvenile justice system. all entities -- the whole family is incarcerated. we want to kill the whole family. that is why we go when -- we want to heal the whole family.
that is why we go in. we believe in empathy, we believe this violence is a learned behavior. restored of justice does work. -- restorative justice does work. [applause] >> elizabeth, you have been on both sides. as a teenager, you were a recipient of services. today, you are working in youth development. what do you think the answer is in reducing gang violence? >> i want to give thanks for another day here and an opportunity to share this space
with everybody. all of the beautiful courage that it takes to be up here. a lot of energy to the healing circle as well. as a juvenile, i was in juvenile hall and i went through that whole system myself. i have worked with tattoo removal, i went to other development programs. through personal experience and being raised by a single mom and being proud of my dad imprisoned and now pursuing my education, i would say there is not one answer. the answer is that there is not an answer. you have brought about by bringing this conversation forum. it is not just law enforcement perspective, it is not just the community-based perspective, it is not just the research perspective, it is a multi- layered approach. first and foremost, we do have
to consider meeting youth where they are act. we are talking about perpetrators of violence or what not or system involved or involved in gangs, we have to meet them where they are at. pain and hurt produces more hurt, right? what is fundamental it is addressing back pain -- addressing that pain. not looking at folks in a punitive way and saying, this guy is notorious, we have to lock him up. that person is hurting. he might have been abused, you know. first and foremost, we need to meet that individual's needs. i am pursuing a master's in
social work. i have that lens. we need to heal our communities and take those answers upon ourselves. everybody has already -- we sure this in perspective, but definitely, we need to create community anchored solutions. that involves a discourse with policy makers. as people of color, we need to be accountable and to be positive role models. greek them on the bus and not be scared of art -- greet them on the bus and not be scared of our own people. we stereotype ourselves and we are price ourselves. we need to be accountable and we need to respect each other and what with integrity. those are our kids. that is our community. we need to be those role models
for those kids. if we lock ourselves up in the ivory tower, in the institutions, we are not providing -- what are we providing? we are not providing those alternatives. yes, a lot of the work that community agencies -- they are out there. you do not have to be a community based agency to be a positive role model, right? a smile goes a long way, you know? if a kid -- just because of how he dressed and people demonstrate that they are scared of him, what do you think he is going to do? that is one of the different approaches. i also think it is important to be flexible as community workers or law enforcement. we need to be flexible because
things change. there is not just one solution. kids might take 10 steps forward. they might make such significant progress, and then something goes down. something goes down and they take eight steps back. we need to be able to be flexible with them and be there through that process. and not to say, i am not working with you anymore because you let me down. that is really important as well, not to be rigid. collaborations are very important as well. if we are talking about bringing everybody to the table to develop solutions, youth should have the same importance as the district supervisor, as the police enforcement officer, as the executive director. through that, we build a real communities. i have respect for our brother
over here and respect for my sister over there. you develop that accountability and integrity billet -- and integrity amongst one another. we are able to express ourselves and develop real solutions, especially in the time where the budgets are cut left and right. the only thing we have left is our human relationships. honestly, we know health and human services are the first things to get slashed. by developing those relationships with each other, i think we will go a long way. partnerships with local business, i know that that is really important. instead of shutting their kids or monitoring them as the balkan, why don't you offer them a job? -- model train them as they walked in, why don't you offer them eight -- monitoring and the them as they walked in, why
don't you offer them a job? [applause] >> i will ask the professor to ask some specific questions. and then we will get to your questions in about eight or nine minutes. i will ask you to keep your response is brief. >> ok, you will have to bear with me. i am going to go off script for 30 seconds. there is a person in the audience, and i meant to mention her during my keynote. it is someone that you all should try to talk to during a break or during lunch because someone like her should be on this panel. one person missing. it is a public defender. this is someone who worked as a
public defender for 19 years in los angeles. she is now director of legal services. now i'm going to embarrass her. her name is ellie miller. there she is. [applause] public defenders are legal ministers. you are. you are part of this picture. ok. i will go back to what i was supposed to be doing, forgive me. i am going to -- we have heard everybody's contribution. now i want to talk about what is working and what is not working. i am going to ask each of the members to speak the truth to one another. let me direct some early remarks. you have suffered unimaginable pain.
i will make an assumption that i can speak for the audience in singing, cannot imagine what would be like to be is a child. from that pain, from your community organizing, what do you say to the commander? it is not 1996 any more. what is going on? what do you say to him? what does he say to you? i will ask you to keep the remarks brief. commander, i will give you a chance to respond. you are hearing about all these things, what is your reaction? >> there needs to be more police sensitivity training in sfpd when it comes to victims of violence. often times, many of their parents that are on the scene when this happens, the majority
of them gets arrested and they do not understand the crime scene. all they see is their child laying there in a pool of blood. all they want to do is get to that child, not knowing they may damage a crime scene. i would like to see, commander, more sensitivity training with the police department. learning about the victim's family, we are there, to when it happens. the first thing we want to do is get to that family, to prevent any further violence. i would like to see that happen. >> commander? >> we do have sensitivity training. 32 hours of that better police academy. never, you are correct. it is unacceptable for -- however, you are correct.
it is unacceptable for any parent to be rested at the scene. -- and arrested at the scene. i have never seen that happen and i have never heard of that. i would say they are perhaps being pulled away for their own good. they are being assisted. if they are being put into a police radio car, they may be taken to another location. family members that can help them. i can assure them that i've never seen anyone be arrested at the scene like that. >> we want to have a conversation. i am going to turn around to mr. fleming. we will go back and forth.
what would you say -- what role can he play, talked about the three groups of individuals. you mentioned that first group. on the edge. and he mentioned a second group, the group that would have step- by-step sentencing. is there anywhere for someone's skill set to assist you in that effort? >> i like the question and i will tell you why. i think the groups working with the youth are doing the best we can -- the best they can. sometimes, you need tough love. they need to set guidelines and make them understand that if they do not go according to the program, they will be out of the program.
one thing i like to see, when that individual -- the individual gets arrested and i will decide whether or not to file charges. a lot of times, i do not file charges. that person is released from jail the second day and then he is back in the community. there should be somewhere within the police department for someone like jeremy to meet with that person the day he is being released. i think that would be a very effective means for him to intervene. in dealing with the violent us youth, they need to make them understand that they have done something, there will be repercussions, there will be consequences. they will have to serve their time, but not get lost in the shuffle. prison can have two or facts. it can make someone want to be more productive member of society or they can become more integrated into the gang
lifestyle. these individuals can go in and aligned with these groups and now they come out and they are more respected in the community in the wrong aspect and they're going to do something more severe. we need to -- was these people go to prison, do not lose touch with them. meet them when they are being sentenced. >> i love something you just did. you said "he needs to" and a new corrected yourself and said "we need to." we need to be thinking along those lines. you are basically out of prison, correct?
you have grown up in richmond, an area that is labeled gang infested. when you listen to this, how do each of you react? what do think of what he is saying? could you work with him? it's tough love be answered? -- it's tough love the answer? >> we h kind of understanding of one common goal. our goal is to make our communities safe. that is our goal, right? the main thing is working together and to know that we are working for a youth, trying to find resources, trying to make him a better person. some of these kids we work with, they have no understanding of what a father is, a mother is, a kid. those need to be defined. that is what is missing in our
society. when we incarcerate somebody, we have to do something for them. i was incarcerated for 28 years. when they come out, they are worse than when they were in prison. the thing we need to do, be in touch with the individuals we work with. during the time they are going to sentencing. we need to provide something while they are incarcerated. you just wait for the time to go by. there is no criteria. what you need to do, but you need your high-school diploma. when your time is up, you go. ewing got to do anything. there is nothing you have to do. -- you ain't got to do anything. there is nothing you have to do. they get involved with other
gang members and they get worse. the thing we have to do, and if we want it to work, i believe everybody is redeemable. i really believe that. [applause] it's not so, i would not be here. you know? i know i am making an impact on society. i know that. the thing we have to, as the community, -- come as as a community. that is the problem. when i am ready to go to juvenile hall, i have problems getting a pass. and i go there all the time. just to be able to make contact. the same person that is giving me the past don't want to give me a pass all of a sudden. we have to come together as a community and set aside the status, set aside the power.
come together to work for a common goal to make our community better. [applause] >> there is a theme emerging, even as we are listening, about leveling the status in these collaboration's. everybody is equalized. i am hearing these words over and over again. tough love, does that help? tell the truth. >> negative. >> why not? >> when you get tough love in a household, you can tell that it is genuine. just like any other kid, i would like to sit down when there are no cameras around and see where his heart is.
is it just a job? does he really cared? is he going to take a position in d.c. and forgets all about what he started here? that is something that i would definitely care about. another thing we have to understand, these kids are not scholars. they are not someone who comes from an educational background or was taught that in their household. they do not know how to differentiate how to make the right choices. they just know what they have been taught. i am speaking from personal experience. i went to high school and i graduated with a 1.7 gpa. we ran the school, literally. i went to kennedy high school in richmond. it is surrounded by three or four different components. constant shootings -- three or four different hoods.
we had to have our varsity football games during school hours. we cannot have it at 7:00 because of the potential danger. there was constant substitute teachers, a lot of bucks. -- lack of books. this is what they are teaching us. not saying that it is a total reason for why it and others turn out the way that we turned out, but it plays a part. just like i have to be held accountable for the choices i make, and so does a society. >> i keep hearing the term gang. in the black community in the bay area, it is a community, it
is not a gang. you can move up in their ranks as if you are working for apple or ibm. you can move from a regular employee to ceo. in the black community, it is not like this. it is not structured like that. there is no one at sagging or telling you how to operate. there is a term in the black community called a one-man army. it is someone who acts alone. he did not bring anybody with them, he is called a one-man army. he does not have to report to anybody. none of that. i do not know if that is worse than a hierarchy.
at the end of the day, i mean, it is not a gang. it is a community. i know that i am not going to get the word again abolished from the media, but i want to clarify. as long as you keep putting a label on it, it will have a negative connotation towards these kids. particularly in the black community. [applause] >> we're going to go to some of your questions. the first one is from georgia. what happened to bobby? was he prosecuted for the drive- by shooting? >> when i tell the story, i had asked this. before i answer the question, i want to thank all of the panelists.
that was not meant to be hostile so much as to say, we all need to listen to one another. what he said about what happens when the camera is turned off, that is the most important work you're going to do. what happened to bobby? it is an interesting story. needless to say, i intervened and i was young and what i did not know intellectually, i made up for in energy. i intervened on the basis that he was a child that had been subjected to incredible abuse. he was very much a kid and the child welfare system. it happens too many violent youth. i intervened, and he was never prosecuted. he was 14 years old,